A cruise ship that lost power because of an engine fire is being towed from the Gulf of Mexico, with many passengers sleeping on the deck to stay cool and standing in lines to get hot meals and use toilets.
The Carnival Triumph, carrying more than 3,000 passengers and more than 1,000 crew members, could reach Mobile, Ala., by today or Thursday, depending on sea conditions, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
It is the latest cruise mishap for an industry that was hoping to rebound from last year’s disastrous wreck of the Costa Concordia off the Italian coast. Miami-based Carnival Corp. owns the parent company that operated the Concordia as well as Carnival Cruise Lines, which owns the Triumph.
Carnival has already announced that it will issue full refunds to the passengers, plus travel expenses and credit toward a future cruise vacation.
No one was injured in the engine fire, but it left the ship without propulsion. Two tugboats were dispatched to pull the cruise ship – nearly the size of three football fields – to Mobile.
The ship departed from Galveston, Texas, last week on a four-day cruise to Cozumel, an island off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Messages from passengers on the Triumph, sent to family and friends, say some of the public and cabin toilets are not operating and only limited power is available to run elevators and heat food.
Several of the text messages were printed on Cruisecritic.com, a review site for cruise vacations. The messages said the rooms were so hot without circulating air that some passengers were sleeping in tents on the deck. Family members said passengers were getting cranky and some were hoarding food.